For winning the ‘Best Comment’ in the Sin Bin last week, user Mikeyyy has won the opportunity to write a guest post. His post is about the key to success in the coming season.
Key to success in the coming season
With training camp around the corner and another season of hockey upon us, speculation and expectations run rampant. We get ourselves into a frenzy talking about who will make the big club, will a rookie make the roster out of camp, or trade some players to fill a need or hole in the roster.
We can talk what ifs all day long. What’s if Wolski regains his old form? What if Marc Staal elevates his game? What if Stepan has a breakout year? All these questions are valid and have bit of an impact on the results of the season and the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup. But there are a few things that have to happen for a successful season. When I say successful, I don’t mean making the playoffs. And I don’t mean making a deep run into the playoffs. I mean what makes a great, memorable season that has a great ending. Players kissing the cup, and doing things that should never be done with a trophy, like feeding a Kentucky Derby winner oats out of it.
To be successful next season Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik must find chemistry. John Tortorella can not split these two up. They must be allowed to become one, for the success of the team. Gabby is a special player. A game breaker. But he has to be a finisher. Too often last season Gabby would bring the puck into the zone and have to lower that shoulder and drive to the back of the net. My frustration with this caused me many fits of shouting at the tv for him to drive the net. Not the boards behind the net. The only way Gabby can be finishing is if he is allowed to find the seams , get in with speed and release that wicked shot of his. It’s Brad Richards job to make sure he gets that puck. It won’t happen overnight, or the first 20 games tight happen 40 games into the season, but their goal needs to be to become a tandem to be feared.
Even if we must abandon the precious system that Torts has put together, these two must be allowed to pile points up on the board. Let the rest of the team play that tough in your face hockey. The first line needs to light it up. If the system is stifling them, then Torts need to adjust it for them. They say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I will assert that it is broken if your top two players are not potting goals and creating chances. It isn’t working if you are splitting these two up. It isn’t working if these two aren’t clicking. Let the rest of the team worry about that grinding style, you still need that top line to fly and create scoring opportunities and be dangerous.
Just ask yourself this, is it more important that Gabby back checks and has a good +/- or that he regains his old form, busts games wide open and get us back on our feet again clapping and cheering. I do understand that we have this identity of being a hard working team, but what does that matter if we aren’t winning?
Last season we strictly stuck to the system asking thoroughbreds to become work horses. We made sure we played solid hockey because that was the only way this team would win. With all the tools necessary to win a cup (yep I said it, this team could go all the way) now it’s up to the coach to use his assets wisely and know when it’s time to change it up and play a system that allows his top two players to shine. I am not saying the onus is just on Torts, but on every player, but also especially Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.